Information on Admissions and Financial Aid

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Admission to the graduate programs in Spanish is a competitive process based on a comparative evaluation of all applications received. In order to be considered for admission, applicants should meet the minimum requirements described below. Because the process is competitive, fulfilling the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission to the program. Initial review of graduate applications begins in the last week of January and continues on an on-going basis thereafter as completed applications are received. In order to receive full consideration for financial aid, applications should be received by January 15th for the following academic year. Prospective students to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs may also apply to begin graduate studies in the spring semester, but financial aid is not always available at that time.  The M.F.A. program in Spanish Creative Writing only considers applications for fall semesters.

Minimum requirements: 

Applicants to the Master of Arts program must have completed the equivalent of an undergraduate Spanish major with at least a 3.00 grade point average in courses for the major. An undergraduate within no more than four semester hours (s.h.) of graduation may be admitted to the Graduate School provided all undergraduate requirements are completed during the first semester of graduate studies. Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program must have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, with at least a 3.50 grade point average. pplicants to the PhD program must have completed the equivalent of an MA inSpanish or an MFA in Spanish Creative Writing with at least a 3.50 grade point average.

English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to the Graduate College: The graduate programs in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are administered by the University of Iowa Graduate College. For international students whose native language is other than English, admission to the college requires demonstrating a certain level of proficiency in English. The Graduate College accepts scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), in the paper-based, computer-based or Internet-based version, or scores from the International English Language Testing Service exam (IELTS).

However, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese accepts only the results of the Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) for the purpose of determining an admitted student’s eligibility for a teaching or research assistantship. An overall IBT score of 100 or higher, with a minimum score of 26 on the speaking component, is required before an offer of financial aid can be made.

The Graduate College requires a minimum of 81 on the IBT for admission, although this score is not sufficient for receiving an offer of financial aid. The TOEFL is given worldwide throughout the year. There is a fee for the examination and payment must accompany your order or it will be returned to you. The University’s TOEFL school code is 6681. See for more information.

Application Procedure: The application procedure for the M.A., M.F.A. and the Ph.D. program requires the submission of (1) the University of Iowa Graduate College application form, (2) three letters of recommendation from faculty members familiar with the student's record, or, for applicants to the M.F.A., letters from writers familiar with the student’s writing, (3) a one- to two-page clearly articulated statement of purpose, (4) official transcripts from all universities and/or  colleges  attended. In addition, applicants to the M.A. program must submit a paper that shows ability to do linguistic or literary analysis. If this paper is written in English, then an additional writing sample in Spanish must also be submitted. Applicants to the M.F.A. must submit a sample of creative work in Spanish of at least 30 (but no more than 50) pages of prose fiction or theater or 20 pages of poetry that demonstrate excellent creative potential and native-like proficiency in Spanish.

Applicants to the PhD program must submit a minimum of two research papers which demonstrate achieved excellence in literary or linguistic analysis and argumentation. In the case of intent to write a dissertation with a creative component, applicants must also submit a sample of their creative work in Spanish. Usually these are papers and projects written during the course of the applicant’s MA/MFA study. At least one of these papers must be in Spanish. At least one of these papers must be in Spanish. To start the process click on UI Admissions.  You will be prompted to upload the documents you provide (statement of purpose, writing samples) as .pdf files.

Financial Aid

The Department is committed to providing financial aid to M.A., M.F.A. and Ph.D. candidates in Spanish to support their graduate studies and to enhance their development as teachers and scholars. Our primary means of financial support is through teaching assistantships awarded competitively. The typical appointment is for a half-time teaching assistantship, for which the teaching responsibilities are two sections each semester of Elementary or Intermediate Spanish in the General Education Program in Spanish Language. 

For the academic year 2020-2021, the stipend for a half-time teaching assistantship is $19,236. The contract between the University and the teaching assistant union COGS also guarantees that TAs receive a full tuition scholarship for the typical full-time graduate student load (9 semester hours/semester) and that the University pay 50% of mandatory fees associates with full-time enrollment at the University. These salary rates and employment benefits are subject to change with each yearly contract.

Students who maintain good academic standing (GPA of at least 3.25), meet expectations in their progress toward degree, and maintain a good teaching record may normally expect two years of support while completing the M.A. or M.F.A. degree and four years of post- M.A. support while pursuing the PhD. Support beyond four years for the Ph.D. is rare and is awarded only in exceptional circumstances. Students who wish to be considered for financial support should apply directly to the department.

The department offers one competitive fellowship, the Ruth Davis Fellowship Award, which provides full summer support for one advanced doctoral student for one summer. Other sources of funding for graduate students at the University of Iowa include the Graduate College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Student Senate, International Programs, and other units in the University.